Apartment Decorating

By Brandon Telle

March 18, 2015 4 min read

Living in an apartment can really cramp your style. Lease agreements typically prevent tenants from doing anything to their space that is deemed damaging to the property. This can include repainting, replacing lighting or water fixtures and, in extreme cases, even putting nails in the walls. All of these restrictions can lead to years of living in a white-walled pit of despair.

Fear not, my apartment-dwelling compatriot! There are many ways to make an apartment your own without breaking the rules you agreed to by barely reading and signing your lease agreement. Simple things such as artwork and lighting can go a long way. Below is a list of some ways to break your apartment's monotony without breaking your lease.

--Incorporate creative lighting solutions. Apartment lighting can be drab. By introducing standing lamps in multiple corners of a room, you can soften and disperse the light in a room to give it a homier feel. Because you can decide where to put them, standing lamps and table lamps will also provide you with more control over how and where your room is lit.

--Add some color to those lights. Introducing color to a room can be a challenge if your lease prevents you from painting walls. One way to add color to a room is to replace a standard white light bulb with a colored one. Hardware stores are sure to carry multiple colors in varying wattages. High-tech apartment dwellers can check out LIFX Wi-Fi light bulbs, which can be adjusted for color and brightness via their smartphone application.

--Use inexpensive carts as decorative storage. Seeing as you are not able to remodel your apartment to add storage spaces, finding a place for all of your stuff can be a challenge. Small storage carts, such as Ikea's Raskog, are ideal for both expanding your storage options and decorating a corner of a room. Place your whiskey bottles and some glasses on the cart for an improvised bar, or put your towels and shower products on the cart to have a freestanding shower caddy.

--Cover up boring walls with canvas. How do you cover up huge expanses of empty white walls without paint? Hang some pictures. Get some canvas wall art. Put anything on those walls to prevent your guests (and yourself) from going snow-blind in the white emptiness.

--Use wall stickers. "But I can't put nails in my walls," you may be shouting into your newspaper at this very second. Rest assured that you have options, too. Your new favorite company, Blik, produces large decorative stickers for your boring walls. With dozens of designs and themes to choose from, there's sure to be a set that matches your taste.

--Forget the rules. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Hang that picture. Paint that wall. Replace those switch covers. Just make sure, for the sake of your security deposit, that you can undo anything you change. Before moving out, paint the walls the right color (whether or not your landlord plans on painting again) and use a spackling compound to fill in the holes in your walls.

This list is far from comprehensive. There are a million different ways to make your sterile apartment your own. For more decorating ideas, head to Pinterest, Tumblr or your neighborhood Ikea. Like most things in life, how much you enjoy living in your apartment really depends on how much effort you put into it.

For more information, go to http://lifx.co, http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30216536 and http://www.whatisblik.com.

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